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Instituto Bernabeu discovers fertility genetic variants

Following years of research, the Poor Responder Unit at Instituto Bernabeu has, for the first time, discovered the genes that play a role in ovarian reserve. This makes choosing the most appropriate medication for the patient’s genetic make-up possible, thus optimising ovarian response.


Genetic compatibility in couples

When faced with fertility issues, many people believe that this is often due to the couple’s incompatibility. The reason behind this inability to fall pregnant is often unknown and quite simply a mystery due to some form of irresolvable  ‘genetic issue’. When faced with such circumstances, we can but give in and accept it and, as with all popular beliefs, there is some truth in it.
It’s estimated that around 20% of reproduction issues are down to genetics. In fact, many of the tests carried out as part of patient fertility analyses in our clinic, aim to determine if there is a genetic issue behind the couple’s difficulties falling pregnant. […]

By |7 de October de 2016|Fertility, Genetics, Gynaecology, News, Pregnancy|0 Comments

A boy or a girl: can I choose my baby’s gender?

Whilst it is technically possible to choose a child’s gender using pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, Spanish law prohibits selecting a baby’s sex, except with a view to avoiding the transmission of genetic diseases associated with the X chromosome. Such is the case, for example, of haemophilia A.
Law 14/2006 indicates that pre-implantation genetic diagnosis may only be used in order to detect serious genetic diseases or those which compromise the viability of an embryo. Therefore, this technique may not be used in order to select a future baby’s gender. Any other use of this technique is a serious offence which is punishable by law. […]

The endometrial receptivity array (ERA) test

Embryo implantation is the least well known phase of reproduction within the field of reproductive medicine. This fact is of special relevance if we also take into account that the human embryo is not very efficient when compared to other closely-related species in the evolution timeline.
We currently know that pregnancy is based upon three basic pillars: the embryo, the endometrium and the tolerance of the mother’s immune system. Not only is it essential that all three function correctly, but there needs to be optimum interaction between them. We have already covered the role of the embryo and the immune system in detail. Therefore, we will now concentrate on the endometrium and, more specifically, on studying endometrial receptivity. […]

Cytomegalovirus (CMV): What is it? How is it transmitted? What are its symptoms? How can it be treated?

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a virus from the family Herpesviridae. We also find the chickenpox virus, herpes simplex and the mononucleosis virus in this family.
Infection with CMV is very common since it is present worldwide and can affect anyone. On the whole, it is an infection which does not usually cause any serious health issues. Once the virus has infected a person, it will remain in that person’s body for the remainder of his or her life. In fact, it is usually inactive or latent for a long time and it does not tend to reactivate unless the person’s defence system (immune system) is affected. Most people who are infected by the virus and who do not have serious health issues do not, on the whole, have any symptoms which might cause them to believe that they are infected with CMV. People who do develop some symptoms may suffer from a high temperature, swollen lymph glands, muscle pain or tiredness.
However, in the case of babies infected with the virus during pregnancy or childbirth and in people with a weak immune system, it is considered to be a significant public health problem since it can cause serious illnesses. […]

Why does embryonic arrest sometimes happen during in vitro development?

Many factors can intervene in arrest processes during embryo development which mean cell division is detained and, therefore, it is not possible to implant the embryo in the mother’s uterus and bring about a pregnancy.
In the first instance, the conditions for development are essential.  Embryos that develop in vitro are subjected to a number of artificial conditions that do not exist in vivo and which will always be less than optimum. Embryos which were apparently viable can suffer embryonic arrest. Huge efforts have been made over the last few years to try and mimic what happens inside the mother and replicate those conditions in laboratory processes.  Most of all, the concentration of oxygen in incubators has been reduced, going from 20% down to 5%. The composition of the culture means has also been improved. This, along with exhaustive monitoring of pH and osmotic concentration, means that we can routinely carry out prolonged embryo development up to blastocyst stage in order to achieve improved embryo selection and increase pregnancy rates. […]

Can I choose the sex of my embryos when I undergo embryo transfer?

The human genome consists of 46 chromosomes: 23 of these are inherited from our father and the other 23 are inherited from our mother. Our organism’s entire genetic make-up is stored in these chromosomes. The 23 pairs are organised as follows: 22 pairs, known as autosomes, and one pair of sex chromosomes (X and Y) which differentiate the two sexes (XY for males and XX for females).
From a technical point of view, using pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, we have the means of analysing an embryo’s entire chromosomal make-up. This technique, which is known as CCS (Comprehensive Chromosome Screening), means additional or a lack of any chromosomes in the embryo can be detected. Therefore, we can use CCS to analyse the entire make-up of the embryo and determine that there are neither DNA excesses nor deficiencies which will stop the embryo from developing properly. But, if we focus on the sex chromosomes, we can also determine if the analysed embryo has two X chromosomes and will, therefore, be a girl (XX) or one X chromosome and one Y chromosome (XY) and will be a boy. […]

Vasectomies: the male contraceptive

Vasectomies are the most reliable method of male contraception and an estimated 40 to 60 million men worldwide have chosen to have one.  They are the most widely used contraceptive method for men looking to achieve permanent sterility for family planning or personal reasons.
The procedure should be thought of as irreversible. It has a low complications rate and failure is very infrequent. A vasectomy does not begin to work immediately and couples need to continue to use contraceptives until absolute sterility has been achieved. Vasectomies are safe and do not have any side effects or cause serious illness in the long term. It is a method that is used for avoiding pregnancy in long standing relationships but also as a personal sterility method in men who are not in a relationship (those who have separated, divorcees or widowers) but who do have sexual intercourse or, even when they are in a relationship, do not wish to have more children. […]

By |10 de June de 2016|Fertility, Genetics, News, Pregnancy, Sterility, Urology|0 Comments

The 600 recessive disorders detected by the Genetic Compatibility Test (GCT)

Nowadays, all couples who wish to avoid passing on genetic disorders to their children can choose to do so through a Genetic Compatibility Test (GCT), also known as Prenatal Recessive Disorder Screening.
The Instituto Bernabeu GCT is a groundbreaking analysis that uses next-generation DNA sequencing (NGS) through which we study 555 genetic mutations which cause over 600 autosomal recessive disorders in a simple blood sample.

Please see below the list of mutations analysed by the GCT we do at INSTITUTO BERNABEU:

The immune system and pregnancy

Numerous factors are involved in making the amazing miracle of pregnancy possible. Many of them are very well understood whilst others, such as the immune system and its role in embryo implantation, given their importance, are still being studied and researched in depth. If the immune system is what protects the body against infection and diseases thanks to its defences, what role does it play in achieving pregnancy? […]